Thursday 18 July 2019

Greyhound racing protesters call for 'boycott of all sponsors' in demonstration outside Shelbourne Park

9/7/19 Animal Cruelty protesters demonstrate against Greyhound racing at Shelbourne Park racecourse in Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron
9/7/19 Animal Cruelty protesters demonstrate against Greyhound racing at Shelbourne Park racecourse in Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron
Stock picture: Sportsfile

Hugh O'Connell and Cormac McQuinn

Protesters turned up outside Shelbourne Park in Dublin to demonstrate against greyhound racing in Ireland.

The demonstration comes following an RTE programme which exposed poor practice, mistreatment and culling of dogs within the industry.

The protesters held aloft signs saying 'boycott all sponsors' and 'stop greyhound racing' in Dublin 4 this evening.

Earlier today the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) criticised RTÉ over the recent programme.

9/7/19 Animal Cruelty protesters demonstrate against Greyhound racing at Shelbourne Park racecourse in Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron
9/7/19 Animal Cruelty protesters demonstrate against Greyhound racing at Shelbourne Park racecourse in Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron

IGB chairman Frank Nyhan told the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee that it was in the public interest that the national broadcaster highlighted illegal behaviour and "sometimes appalling and egregious treatment of animals".

However, he argued that the RTÉ Investigates programme was not balanced and omitted examples of good practice.

Mr Nyhan also criticised the broadcaster for failing to provide the IGB with an opportunity to respond via a ‘live’ interview to the issues raised in the programme which was broadcast last month.

The IGB said it has requested all footage and documentation in order to follow up on the programme’s claims.

"The programme, in many cases, used historic or out of context footage to highlight past poor welfare practices.

"It did not reflect the wider industry or the significant reforms that have been introduced by the Irish Greyhound Board in the last decade.

"It disregarded the thousands of genuine greyhound owners who love their greyhounds and their racing," Mr Nyhan told TDs and Senators.

Mr Nyhan also admitted that work needs to be done to improve the care and welfare of greyhounds and he "unreservedly" condemned the kinds of practices shown on the broadcast.

He outlined plans for reforms to the industry which include new levies to fund better care and contribute towards a ‘pension plan’ for retiring greyhounds.

He also detailed increased sanctions and improved standards for necessary euthanasia.

Mr Nyhan said: "The Irish Greyhound Board is committed to strong regulation of the industry.

"It's committed to following up on any breaches of welfare or regulation... there's no place for cruelty or poor animal welfare practices within the greyhound industry."

RTÉ responded to the IGB’s statement saying it "fully stands over" the programme.

"RTÉ have had a very strong response to the programme from the public, with many acknowledging the importance of such investigative journalism in Ireland," a spokeswoman said.

Responding to Mr Nyhan's statement Fianna Fáil TD Jackie Cahill - who has been involved in the industry - said: "for those of us who love our greyhounds, who love our dogs it was a very disturbing programme".

"I think no one who loves the sport of greyhound racing or loves animals would hold with any of the practices that were seen on the programme.

"I watched it with a group of individuals and... we were all horrified by what we saw and those actions can't be condoned."

Mr Cahill said public confidence has been shaken in the industry.

He welcomed Mr Nyhan's presentation and the actions being taken by the IGB.

He said the Board: "has a serious job of work to do to restore public confidence in our industry and to show people that dogs are well looked after."

Mr Cahill insisted: "The vast majority of dog owners look after their dogs extremely well."

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News